Progress in the Development of Bison
Nutrition Research Facilities

V. L. Anderson and Jackson Hagen
Carrington Research Extension Center
North Dakota State University

Construction was initiated in the fall of 1997 on a bison nutrition research facility as depicted in Figure 1. The facility is located just west of US Hiway 281 at the entrance to the Carrington Research Center Livestock Unit. The bison research area will consist of 16 feeding pens with 8 small holding pens, a crowding tub, alleys, chute, and scale. Facility construction is supported by appropriated funds from the State of North Dakota and grants from a number of sources. Grant contributors to date include the North Dakota Buffalo Association, National Bison Association, Lee's Construction (in kind contribution of site preparation work), Northwest Bison Association, and Northeastern Bison Association. Powder River handling equipment was procured with an Equipment Grant from USDA, National Research Initiative with matching funds from NDSU. Additional grants are being sought to complete construction as soon as possible. The North Dakota National Guard is assisting in site preparation as part of their training in construction.

The research facility fences will be constructed of steel (drill stem and sucker rod). Fences between pens will be made of portable panels allowing flexibility for investigation of pen size and animal density. Pens will be 60 x 72 feet with 30 feet of fenceline bunk per pen. Concrete will be placed in appropriate high traffic areas near feed bunks and water fountains. Pen surface slopes to the south at approximately 4%. Runoff from each contiguous 4 pen unit will be collected in a separate holding pond to allow the replicated study of waste management. Dr. Jim Lindley, NDSU Department of Agriculture and Biosystems Engineering will be the principal investigator with input from Scott Birchall, Extension Animal Waste Specialist located at the Carrington Research Extension Center.

Bison research projects will focus on the nutrition and feed management of bison bulls from weaning to market. Studies in nutrient requirements, meat quality, animal health, drug residue, care, and management will be incorporated into the nutrition projects. Input from producers as individuals or organizations (research committee) is welcome.

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